Facebook’s Branded Content Feature

In the past few weeks, Facebook rolled out it’s Branded Content feature to the public (beyond verified pages, which have had it for quite a while), allowing brands to co-brand content, view the ad’s analytics, and use the ad on their own channels. While this seems like a small victory, since brands could always tag each other in posts, it’s actually pretty big for brand partnerships and influencer marketing.

Many industries, from beauty brands to beverage brands are utilizing the power of influencer marketing to get that extra boost from their influencers’ audiences. By adding that extra piece of co-branded content to the puzzle, co-branded content gives a sense of validity to the partnership, the way that blue check mark gives validity to someone users follow on their social channels. It also helps brands in making sure that the influencers that they’re paying for these partnerships are delivering, with more transparency into the performance of the posts. This rings true for brands partnering with other brands as well.

The Branded Content option on Facebook also helps facilitate easier partnerships between brands. It makes figuring out the logistics of who posts what and when easier, and what spend is going into the ad from each side as well. While the content itself doesn’t look much different, the performance insights behind branded content are more robust, which is important when working outside of your own channels. Having this data can help determine the value of the partnership and whether it’s worth continuing in the future. While there can be additional benefits to brand partnerships to what you can visibly see in the analytics, it’s a good piece of data to have access to. The Branded Content feature is simply added value to the success metrics you would be looking at anyways.

While Facebook’s Branded Content feature isn’t the most innovative feature Facebook has rolled out, considering it’s lack of new ad design features, it will be interesting to see both how brands continue to use it to their benefit and how Facebook will add on to it moving forward.


OMMA Social

When OMMA Social (part of #IWNY) started off discussing the infamous “Dunk in the Dark” real-time marketing success, the first thought that came to mind was, “This is going to be a long day.” Talk about a case study that has been beaten to death. While this particular example did come up a few times, I was in luck that there were in fact fresh insights and lively discussions taking place throughout the day. There was a lot of great stuff that happened, so here are just some of the highlights from the bigger panels:

Connection Conundrum: Is FFacebook-Reachacebook Reach Worth Paying For? Touched upon the topic that’s been on many a social media marketer’s mind since Facebook changed its algorithm and organic reach has declined. Some interesting points and questions that came up:

  • Facebook may no longer be targeted towards the mass audience, but more so the micro audience. So it’s actually giving you what you need, even if it isn’t what you want. It’s also keeping users from being spammed. Facebook is trying to anticipate what users want to see, and minimizing organic reach helps filter that out. Focus on hyper-targeting the right people to maximize your spend. Smart targeting is the smart solution for a limited Facebook budget.
  • If you take a quality piece of content that already does well organically and amplify that, then you’re likely to get more bang for your buck.
  • Be effective on the newsfeed, with mobile that’s all there is, and Facebook is increasingly moving in that direction.
  • With Facebook, expect the unexpected. They like to keep marketers on their toes. That being said, a strong team will be able to overcome curveballs thrown their way. Talent over tools.
  • And remember kiddos, Facebook is a business too. You may not like it, but they need a profitable business model as well.

Social ROI: If “Likes” and Followers Don’t Matter, What Does? Didn’t stray too far from this typical question, but some interesting points to keep in mind were:

  • Social ROI depends on what your brand’s goals are: driving traffic vs. community growth vs. sales, etc.
  • Does reach matter if no one’s clicking. It was astutely pointed out that the Reach metric on Facebook is actually Potential Reach. Only the social channels themselves know who actually viewed your content. Therefore, are we holding reach in too high esteem?
  • You can’t rely on click data alone. The metrics need to be able to provide a 360 perspective.
  • The social media industry is maturing enough to say, “OK we have engagement, what then?”
  • We have to go from vanity metrics to active metrics to ROI.
  • It should never be a pure numbers game. Sentiment around the brand can help drive offline ROI. Social needs to be one piece of the whole.
  • Many brands feel the need to be everywhere on social instead of focusing on where their audience is.
  • Building communities is hard. Buying campaigns is easy.

nativeadvertisingIs the Future of Social One Big Native Ad (and Vice Versa)? Contemplated the future of advertising amidst the integrated user experience:

  • “Social media is like the Wild Wild West.”
  • You may not like it, but native advertising is the lesser of two evils when compared with display advertising.
  • Owned. Earned. Paid. Social media’s version of “Blurred Lines.”
  • “The legal department is where good ideas go to die.” Just got a kick out of that, as we joke about that at About.com. The comeback was “Dated measurement is where good ideas go to die.” Zing.
  • Inject your brand into social discourse, but do it tastefully.
  • As much as it’s annoying to keep coming back to the same case study, Oreo’s “Dunk in the Dark” tweet did get 15k RT, and paired with the well-placed accompanying ads, it’s still being talked about for a reason. It was the breakthrough for this kind of marketing.
  • It’s the brands that already have an always-on strategy that are best set up for real-time marketing, BUT is it sustainable? You get big hits with real-time but evergreen content is important for social media strategy as well.

Ephemeral and Anonymous Social Networks: Nightmare for Brands or Undiscovered Opportunity? Besides having an awesome name, this panel discussed apps like Secret, Whisper, and Snapchat, and what these mean for marketing:

  • It seems people use privacy based social platforms to pretty much stay away from everything brands try to use social for. However, while your brand may have no place trying to reach consumers there, you can still listen to try and capture sentiment around your brand or relevant topics, and what your audience’s needs and desires are.
  • These “privacy” based platforms still capture customer data. You’re never REALLY anonymous on social. Anonymous networks provide the illusion of privacy.
  • When users are anonymous are the insights deeper because they’re more willing to share, or are they more ruthless because people don’t have to stand behind what they say? Authenticity is really just a perception (and perhaps relevance is too). When YouTube forced real-name usage for comments via Google+ the quality of comments went up, resulting in lower spam and less trolls.
  • Is it so bad it content disappears and doesn’t live on? Brands are terrified of Snapchat because successes won’t be able to be recorded and bragged about later. Can you blame us for wanting our legacy to live on though?

So there you have it – some insights, questions, and arguable points from #MPOMMA. Check out the hashtag to see the tweets that accompanied the conversations. And we’re out!

The Newsjack Hack

As real-time marketing has continued to explode ever since Oreo took over the 2013 SuperBowl during the blackout, newsjacking has been right by its side as a social media marketing tactic that capitalizes on relevant news: i.e. what is happening NOW. “Why should I care?” is becoming less of a question as marketers are finding ways to relate their marketing to what people DO care about. newsjackWhile newsjacking doesn’t have to be quite in real-time, the more relevant, the more effective it is. After all, you want to “ride the popularity wave” of a story before it crashes. What is essential however is that it has to appear seamless and fit in with the story naturally.

One way you can implement this marketing tactic is by linking your marketing to a trending topic. Twitter is a great social network for using this tactic, since it always has a stream of trending hashtags and there are many tools you can use to find which hashtags are trending within your demographic. Right now #OlympicPickupLines is trending, for example, and if you have a product that you can tie in (perhaps something that you can tie to Olympic sports, flirting, dating, sex, or something creative that has nothing to do with either the Olympics or pickup lines and you’re just brilliantly witty), you can expand your post visibility without having to resort to any sort of promoted posts or other paid Twitter advertising.

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While Twitter provides probably the easiest platform for newsjacking, brands have been able to implement it in their email marketing, blogs, actual ads, and other social networks. From well-known brands such as Spirit Airlines to charities such as Save the Children, many have been able to use newsjacking to their content marketing advantage, taking their marketing to the next level.

Newsjacking can also be used for B2B marketing as well, especially when asserting your expertise in a particular space. Social media professionals use this tactic often, inserting their voice into webinars, tweetups, etc. since the nature of the profession often ensures that those with similar interests will be involved in those conversations. This week I have been unable to attend #SMWNYC events live due to a busy work week, but through following specific hashtags and luckily catching some livestream events, I have been able to inject myself into conversations and act as a fairly active voice, despite not being present. As long as your posts pertain to the topic of discussion, and you respond only after active listening, you can become an organic presence in the conversation.

While newsjacking is a fairly easy way to tie your message to a topic with more traffic, it takes careful skill, setup, and precautions must be made:

  • Depending on your brand, you may want to check with your legal department before jumping on a trending hashtag’s bandwagon on Twitter, as it may “belong” to another brand/company, and they may ask you to take your posts down.
  • Be wary of tying into controversial or devastating
    news unless you have a very well-thought out plan to do so (perhaps as a publicity stunt). While it may make sense, for example, as an insurance company to tie your posts to reports of the temperamental winter storms that have been striking this winter, and illustrating how you can help, you are opening your brand up for potential backlash and outrage at exploiting the devastating effects the storms have caused.

Newsjacking is a great way to convert your target demographic’s interests into increased traffic for your brand, and is also an excellent tactic for potentially reaching new demographics that you wouldn’t otherwise reach. By tagging onto something people are already looking to because they find it interesting, you can then make them interested in what you have to share as well.